Yuri Milner, the Russian Billionaire founder of one of world’s biggest investment firms Digital Sky Technologies (a.k.a. DST Global), announced today at The Royal Society of london, a project named ‘Breakthrough Initiatives’, wherein he will put in a whopping $100 Million to search for intelligent life beyond our solar system, our galaxy and perhaps several other galaxies.

In what could unarguably become, one of the biggest space exploration projects in the history of extraterrestrial exploration, Milner has brought upon the likes of Stephen Hawking, Martin Rees, Frank Drake, Geoff Marcy, Pete Worden, and Ann Druyan to lead this project.

The first part of this ambitious space exploration project, called Breakthrough Listen, will launch today itself. As per Milner, is the most powerful, comprehensive and intensive scientific search ever undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond our planet.

Just to make you aware of the sheer magnitude of this project, Yuri told Jordan Crook of TechCrunch, that the program will survey the 1,000,000 closest stars to Earth in hopes of finding conditions suitable to life, searching the entire galactic plane of the Milky Way and beyond to the 100 closest neighbouring galaxies — all this, via world’s two most powerful telescopes — the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia and Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

To process such massive data, Yuri is looking to tap into Berkeley’s SETI@Home project, wherein 9 Million volunteers will donate their extra computing powers for this particular project.

The entire project will be open source — from the hardware being built — to the software being developed. Yuri says that he wants this newly designed software to be compatible with telescopes around the world, so that they too can contribute to this never-seen-before, gargantuan space exploration project.

As per a detailed breakdown of costs on New York Times, almost two-thirds of Milner’s money will be used to design, build and deploy equipment for the biggest ever space exploration, while the rest being utilised to rent the above mentioned telescopes.

Milner, who is largely known for his early investments into Facebook, Twitter, AirBNB and now Uber, will also organise a separate $1 Million contest called Breakthrough Message, to create messages that could be sent to aliens.


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